Latest in Gear

Image credit:

MasterCard won't let companies bill you after free trials for physical products (update)

MasterCard updated its original announcement to make it clear digital subscriptions didn't apply.
AJ Dellinger, @ajdell
January 16, 2019
27480 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

jbk_photography via Getty Images

We've all made the mistake of starting a free trial and forgetting to cancel it before the billing period kicks in. Now, MasterCard will protect against this --but only for physical products. The company announced a new policy that will require merchants to get authorization from you before hitting you with recurring charges for subscriptions. It will also require companies to provide you with monthly updates with pricing and clear instructions on how to cancel if you need it.

Here's how MasterCard's new protections will work: Sign up for a free trial and provide your MasterCard card number for your payment information. When that free trial comes to an end, the merchant will be required to send you a text or email notifying you that you will have to pay to continue the subscription. That message has to include the subscription cost, payment date and merchant name presented clearly so you know exactly who you are dealing with. The message will also have to include instructions on how to cancel in case you decide you're better off without it.

MasterCard, however, is being a bit shifty about this news. Hours after initially publishing its news about this new service, the company made a stealth edit to its blog post, which now reads: "No one wants to be unsatisfied with a physical product after paying for it. For some consumers, a free-trial is a great way to test out a new product and get comfortable with it before making a purchasing decision. And with so many merchants offering free trials for physical products, they're becoming the new norm." Both the bolded phrases were not originally in the blog post, as noted by The Verge and confirmed by a look at Google's cached version of the page. As such, it seems this protection won't help customers try digital subscriptions and not get dinged with a recurring cost if they forget to cancel.

MasterCard

Even if you opt to give the merchant permission to charge you so you can continue using its service, the company has to provide you with monthly receipts that show you the monthly cost. Those monthly receipts will also have to include a guide on canceling the subscription.

Update 1/17/19 3:40PM ET: This post has been updated to note that MasterCard changed its original announcement to say that this deal only applied to physical products, not digital subscriptions.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
27480 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Netflix confirms it's adding playback speed controls to its Android app

Netflix confirms it's adding playback speed controls to its Android app

View
Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

View
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 blood oxygen apps are rolling out now

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 blood oxygen apps are rolling out now

View
Google pulled 'Fortnite' from the Play Store on Android

Google pulled 'Fortnite' from the Play Store on Android

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr